Game Review: Call of Duty: Black Ops
Genre: First-person Shooter
Available Platforms: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC, Wii, Nintendo DS
Players: 1-4 split-screen, 2-18 online
ESRB Rating: M (Mature)
Call of Duty: Black Ops is the seventh installment in the Call of Duty series. In the newest installment you play as Mason as he recalls past events from his life after being captured by an unknown organization. Mason recalls many epic battles including several from the Vietnam War. As you play through his past you begin to discover why he is being held hostage and who is holding him.
Black Ops’ story is one that is not easily forgotten. The story is one like no other in the series by doing the game in flashbacks and knowing that Mason is being held captive throughout the telling of the story. By telling the story this way the story develops Mason as a person, not just a soldier fighting in a war. As you fight your way through several battles you meet new characters and loose several as well. The story leads you through beautiful and various locations that show off the capability of the game’s graphics. The game is done on such a large scale with plenty of explosions and enemies that several times in the campaign you will run into a significant drop in frame rate. The story is just as strong as previous Call of Duty games if not more so. Not only does the story stay up to par with the series but everything about the game’s single player seems to as well.
Although the single player stays up with the standards of Modern Warfare 2 it still has flaws that could be improved on in the game. The main one being the ally AI, while playing you will notice that the AI will kill many opponents but certain ones they are programmed not to kill and that will result in enemies going right by your allies and running straight for you, it looks very off when you see someone run right by an enemy. Another problem is the checkpoints, there are certain areas that seem to have several checkpoints with a small amount of enemies between each one, then there are checkpoints where it seems like you are killing over 100 people to get to the next one. I have no problem with making the game difficult by separating checkpoints but I think that all checkpoints should be equally separated. At several points in the game you will find yourself questioning what exactly you are supposed to do because of non-descriptive details and lacking objective markers. This is rare but when it does occur it can be annoying, as well as make the game harder than it is supposed to be. Overall the campaign is great. It is one of those campaigns where you will feel compelled to move forward, and that is one of the most important things in a campaign.
The multiplayer is what I would consider a combination of Modern Warfare 2 and Halo Reach. The multiplayer has almost every feature from Modern Warfare 2, perk support, clan tags, getting scopes for guns, and killstreaks, and several features from Halo Reach. The money system is something very close to Reach, the money system allows you to unlock the features of Modern Warfare in a different way giving more originality to the multiplayer. Money will buy your perks, attachments for your guns, your contracts, and your killstreaks. This system seems to work very well and is a great change up from previous Call of Duty games. The money system is not the only thing like Halo Reach, there is also a new theater system that allows you to watch your previous games with friends and share them on a file share much like Halo Reach, this is kind of a small new feature but is something that many fans of the series have wanted for awhile.
The most original mode for multiplayer in Black Ops is wager mode; this game type allows you to bet money on each game and earn money by winning the game or lose money when you are not in the top 3. The different modes contained in this game type are some of the best and original the game has to offer. One in the chamber limits your amount of lives and gives you one bullet every time you respawn or every time you kill someone. Sticks and stones gives all players some of the more different weapons in the game that you would have a hard time using in a regular deathmatch. Gun game is a race to kill someone with each weapon tier and each time you kill someone you go up in tier but when you are knifed you go down in tier. The last wager mode is sharpshooter, this mode evens the playing field by giving everyone the same weapons for the same amount of time and is great for someone who wants to try every weapon in the game. One of the features that Treyarch is known for is their zombie mode; this game type is very fun and can give a great feel of holding off a location from zombie attack. Many of the game types can be played in split-screen, this feature is much appreciated and more multiplayer games should incorporate split-screen into their game. The multiplayer overall is awesome but does need a patch here and there, the main thing is that host migration does not occur as smoothly as in the previous Call of Duty titles, sometimes it will occur and will take awhile but most of the time it seems to not occur at all.
Final Word: Treyarch has made several Call of Duty series but in my eyes none of them have been able to step up to the games that Infinity Ward has created. After several attempts at keeping up with Infinity Ward, Treyarch has finally caught up and made a game that adds to Infinity Ward’s take on the series. This game is a must have for anyone who liked any of the Call of Duty games and I would recommend checking it out to anyone who has no plans on getting it.